Friday, July 26, 2013

Start of my Sabbatical!

      “Don’t be pushed by problems.  Be led by dreams.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
Down near World Trade Center
A couple of weeks ago I arrived earlier than planned to the Hx3.  I left my job.  It was a painful ending.  I know this too shall heal. The gift from that experience is time.  Time to get my beloved Home ready to sell, sell almost everything I own, and move to New York City!  I will take over the Hx3 for myself in October!
City Hall Park
I was starving when I got to NYC, so I went across the street for comfort food and company, to Sojourn, where Everyone truly knows my name.  Friday morning I went down to Chelsea for my Memoir writing class.  I then treated myself to a cappuccino and croissant at La Maison du Macaron,132 W 23rd.
From there I ventured to and meandered through the East Village, enjoying the soft, sweet summer rain.  Stopping at Trader Joe’s in Union Square, I picked up some provisions for a lovely dinner.  Kris and I enjoyed it together, and had a quiet evening in, visiting and watching “How I Met your Mother” on Netflix.  I never watched the show when it was on regularly.  Quite funny and light.  Perfect.
World Trade Center @ Dusk
World Trade Center @ Night
Saturday I just poked around, reading, relaxing, and enjoying.  Late in the afternoon I headed Downtown to volunteer with Roof Top Films.  From its website: "Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists."
From Brassland's website
Setting for the Film Festival
This evening’s performance was held at Brookfield Place which is a lovely industrial complex right on the Hudson River, across from the World Trade Center.  The evening began with 3 Brass Bands playing their music, with lots of dancing, leading into the film, Brasslands.   From its website: "They say that when the festival begins, time stands still, as once a year half a million brass fanatics descend upon the sleepy valley town of Guča, Serbia for the world’s largest trumpet festival. Brasslands follows a group of musicians from New York who’ve been playing together for over thirty years, as they make the pilgrimage to Guča to compete in the spiritual home of Balkan music." As always, an enjoyable evening working with varied, nice, and interesting People.  And, I was absolutley thrilled by the fireflies flying around during the movie, in the middle of New York City!
Wonderful Tea Room
on Park Ave and 60th
Man hanging @ The Cell, a theatre on 23rd
Sunday was Bastille Day, and there was a big celebration not far from the Hx3 on 60th Street between Lexington and Madison.  I meandered through the crowds (thick and hot), to experience the festivities (and managed to find a perfect black bag!).  I then joined a Friend at the Union Square Theatre to see Murder Ballad. (another score from Play be Play tickets!).  It was a great, rollicking, raucous musical.  The talent of the four characters was really tremendous.  We then walked around the corner and treated ourselves to a truly delightful High Tea at Lady Mendyl’s Salon, at The Inn at Irving, 56 Irving Place.
Terroir At The Porch
From Dylan L on Yelp
I love the long summer days.  I then walked over to the Highline and met another NYC Friend to enjoy a sunset glass of wine at Terroir at the Porch on the Highline, W15th & 10th Ave.  She was already happily ensconced with a lively group of Young Ladies who invited us to their party.  One of the Ladies is an aspiring Actor, who graduated from McGill with a Psych degree the same year as Katie!  We clearly had a lot in common!  We bid our adieu’s and quietly walked the Highline, sitting, chatting, and enjoying the summer twilight at one of NYC’s true Oasis.
Since I had the gift of time, I came home on Monday morning, enjoying a good night’s sleep. And, began to “dig in”, literally, to begin the purging, packing, cleaning, for all that the next phase and adventure of my life entails.


Friday, July 12, 2013

4th of July

                              "Where liberty dwells, there is my country."  Benjamin Franklin
RafaellaJuly 4th, Independence Day..such a special one in this country.  I loved all those Holidays spent at my beloved Birch Point on Webber Pond..Time for new traditions.  I allowed myself to just “be” for much of the day at my Hx3.  Mid-afternoon I treated myself to the 16 Handles (frozen yogurt) in the neighborhood.  My NYC Friend and I met at Rafaella’s, 9th and 21st, @ 5:30 for an early dinner before going to see the fireworks.  We enjoyed an amazing 3 course dinner with a glass of wine for $17!  I now love early bird specials, and will happily admit it!
We then made our way to the Hudson River to claim a tiny spot for the Fireworks spectacular.  Huge crowds, quiet, respectful, all sweltering together.  As always, the diversity of the people watching is incredible in NYC.  We chatted with a young Woman from Amsterdam, a DNA Scientist who had just spent 3 months at MIT, living in the Back Bay.  We clearly had lots to talk about.  Another couple from the South  postponed their flight home to watch the fireworks.  An interesting mis-matched group of four were next to us all night.  God love the oldest member of the group, his teeth, lack there of and shape of what was left?!  But when he heard I was from Boston, so compassionate…As the Finale shot through the air, my Friend quietly congratulated me on my new Independence…
Window @ FIT
Friday I had breakfast at my new favorite café before Memoir class.  As I sat in the Library writing after class I looked up at one point to see my NYC Friend in front of me!  She lives in Chelsea.  We spent a lovely couple of hours at her favorite little coffee shop, La Maison du Macaron, 23rd between 6th and 7th.  We then went to meet Megabus in front of FIT.  My Cousin’s Daughter had invited herself to spend the weekend with us.  We were truly delighted that she felt that comfortable as most of our relationship had been formed through our huge, loud family events and Holidays.  Communication mix-up on times.  What to do with a couple of hours in the sweltering heat?  Treat ourselves to mani-pedis at my NYC Friend’s favorite salon in Chelsea.  As always one of the relatively cheap things to do in NYC!
Jennifer @ Brandy's
Jake Guccieri (piano) and Casey
Relaxed, I went back to meet the correct bus.  I treated Emily and myself to a cab home, wasn’t in the mood for the crowds of the MTA at rush hour.  Kris arrived home shortly after us from a client’s.  We thoroughly enjoyed the bounty of cheese and crackers I had picked up at Agata and Valencia earlier.  Then, the Cousins went out to play in the Big Apple.  I happily walked the few blocks to Brandy’s Piano Bar where I was voted favorite new customer!
Respite from the heat
Dinner @ L'Ecole
 Saturday we had a lazy start.  Then the Ladies went off to the MOMA.  I relaxed a bit longer then met them at the Museum.  Kris went off to a rare night behind the bar at Valhalla.  Emily and I went south to Soho to do some shopping.  We had a wonderful dinner at L’Ecole, the French Culinary Institute’s restaurant on Broadway in the heart of Soho.  The heat being truly stifling, I happily went home to crash.  Emily ventured out to meet college friends, and then Kris at Valhalla.
On the East River
Sunday we did what all good New Yorkers do, Brunch around the corner at Cascabel Taqueria.  We then meandered around the ‘hood a bit walking along the East River.  A wonderful long, lazy summer weekend in the City.  A great new tradition indeed.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Walking, Sharing, Exploring..

It is with roses and locomotives (not to mention acrobats, Spring electricity, Coney Island the 4th of July, the eyes of mice, and Niagara Falls) that my ''poems'' are competing.
vendors at union sq greenmarket
Union Square Market
Another Friday morning waking up to a beautiful summer morning, I went down to my writing class for an interesting hour.  I then meandered down 5th Avenue to the Union Square Farmer’s Market where I happily roamed and purchased many goodies for dinner.  (The Markets are a bit expensive, in NYC and Boston, but oh so lovely!)  I dropped my bounty off at the Hx3, shared a salad with Kristi and walked to the MET.
Morning Glory
Sculpture of Sopheap Pitch (fromt the Met website)
I greeted one of my favorite new People in my life, my NYC Landlady who was down for an overnight.  We spent a lovely hour poking through a very interesting Cambodian Rattan xhibit, sharing stories, updates, and future plans for our lives.  She left to get back to Northampton, and I waited for Kris to come join me.  We also poked through a couple of exhibits while making our way to the Rooftop for a wonderful glass of Proscecco!  On our way back through I was very impressed when walking through the Egyptian room, I recognized the work of El Anatsui, today’s most successful African artist who creates all his work from recyclables.  I then created a tasty dinner with my catch from the market, we relaxed, and just were.
Entertainmentin the Park
Canada Day Street Hockey
Saturday we both decided to lounge, read, catch up on work for awhile, and then since neither had plans we started walking..through Central Park, as always being entertained, even saw some of Canada Day!  We went to a funky Hotel, the Hudson on the West side where we enjoyed a cocktail in its garden and rooftop bars.  (Diverging for a bit: One of Kristi's Easters in college we met in NYC to play.  The Hudson Hotel, designed by Ian Schrager, had just opened.  Very cool public spaces the bar having been on Sex & the City, tiny rooms.  Kris was quite impressed with my choice.  They were having a great deal at the time!  Many People told me I was crazy over the years, "allowing" Kristi to major in theatre.  She has had this passion since she was 5!  I knew it was a valid passion that weekend as I scored tickets to "Gypsy" at the TKTS booth in Times Square.  Bernadette Peters played Mama Rose.  Kris sobbed from pure emotion for quite awile after the play from seeing her hero in stage..) We then rode the MTA a few stops to reach the beginning of the Highline, whereupon we enjoyed a wonderful twilight walk along the length of it, enjoying another of El Anatsui’s pieces of work which has hung there since last winter.
Hudson Hotel's Garden
A Garden of the Highline

El Anatsui's Broken Bridges (from the Highline's website)
The Spotted Pig
At the southern end of the Highline we found ourselves in Tribeca, and walked south into  the Village. We decided to try to have dinner in a restaurant I’ve been wanting go to but is always packed, The Spotted Pig (W 11th and Greenwich Street).  We scored great seats at the bar and shared a wonderful dinner.  Since it was Pride Weekend, there was lots of goings on, especially in the Village.  After dinner I was happily done, as was Kris, so we made our way home.  A truly special day and evening.

Special Kiddos
Sunday I got up and out early to head to Coney Island.  I volunteered with the Met Council again.  They, in partnership with a local youth organization,  hosted The Coney Challenge, a day in the park where local youth competed through a series of challenges to win prizes.  I knew that Coney Island had been hard hit by Sandy.  It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the park we were in, Kaiser Park, lovely right on the water, was under eight feet of water from the storm.  The median income of Coney Island is 22K, yes, in the most expensive city in the US.  Services that we all take for granted, including the  internet can still be spotty.  As a matter of fact, many people rely on the library for the internet.  It is closed indefinitely.  The Children were of course amazing, polite, and fun.  The Young Women from the Met Council and volunteers, as always, were interesting, gracious, and People I hope to meet and work with again.

Beach @ Coney Island
Closed Arcade
I will admit that I felt I was not really needed.  So, I gracefully, I hope, bowed out early and decided to walk and explore as it was my first time out to Coney Island (quite a trip on the MTA from the UES).  The neighborhood is gritty, rundown.  The Boardwalk is lovely.  The beach is beautiful.  It was a foggy, muggy day, so not as crowded as a hot sunny one would be, but that is one of my favorite types of days for a walk near the beach.  I saw the famous amusement park, thinking of Tom Hanks in the movie “Big.”  Some of the classic structures are closed, but you can still imagine what it must have been like in its heyday (a bit like the old Paragon Park for us Bostonians).  I decided to add to the economy in my way and have lunch.  I poked into a cute place, Place to Beach Cantina, and enjoyed a nice light lunch and chat with John the Bartender.  I then settled in for the long train ride back to the UES.  Another part of my beloved city explored!
A Roller Coaster
The Carousel
Beach joint